TITLE: The Blessed Demon
The statuesque woman prowled gracefully between the flower-laden tables at the Governor’s Ball. Despite the many guests moving around the tables, she wove without pause between the countless gilded chairs. An invisible marker guided her past the jazz band, to a table near the back. There, she found an old man quietly admiring an ornate centerpiece. A cold smile broke across her beautiful face as her hollow eyes forced a startled breath from the man. “Ah, Gustav Bellinger, how are you?” she queried slowly, in a gravelly but polished voice.
The old man shook his head in disbelief. “That is not my name, madam,” he insisted. The woman remained resolute, however, and as her smile disappeared, she retorted, “But Gustav, of course it is – I would know your face always and anywhere.” An old lady with grey hair piled atop her pallid visage, spoke adamantly in the man’s defense. “This is my husband, Georg Schmidt,” she explained proudly. The woman laughed with a mixture of malice and mirth. “No, my dear lady, this is Gustav Bellinger” she calmly insisted, “I never forget his sort of…person. You are my very favorite sort of person, dear Gustav.” With that, her voice dropped as she seethed, “How could I ever forget you, Gustav?” The old lady scowled while her husband shuddered and the bow around his sweat-soaked collar shook faintly. “Anything you want to tell me about a book before you go, Gustav?” the woman taunted.